The AntiSocial Distance Hat

Short Film about a Tall Hat


This page is about the submitted artefact for the Creative technology Project as part of my Sound Design Studies at Napier University Edinburgh. This is a stylish top cylinder hat which helps the concerning gentle-person to keep anyone away whom would enter their pre-determined personal space. There are photos at the end of that page, in case you just would like to see how it looks.

The AntiSocial Distance Hat was created in response of the recent social distancing necessity due to the Covid pandemic and highlights the social issue behind how people might react on an ultimately constructive social requirement in an antisocial, insensitive way.

What it is doing:

The hat plays a recorded message. The message is triggered if someone (or something) is within 1m distance of the hat.
The build consisting of the hat and all electronics housed within. The system was build using a humble Arduino Uno which controls three things:

  • A fully software programmable MP3 player
  • Two ultrasonic sensors operating on 40kHz

The hat also has it’s in-build speaker, which is driven by the amplifier integrated onto the MP3 player.
The Arduino code was written by Andras Peter, please see it here: Code&Electronics
where extensive commenting explains how the code works and declares references.

How the technology works:

The two ultrasonic sensors are working in a cycle triggering by certain conditions, controlled by logic gates. The sensor has a “speaker” and a “microphone”. The speaker emits ultrasonic bursts or “pings”, the sound bounces back from any (most) surfaces and received back by the microphone.
The Arduino measures the time between sending & receiving and calculates the distance knowing the speed of sound in air. The code than inspects the measured distance and starts the recording. Once the object, or person is outwith of that distance, the recording stops. Everything is powered from the Arduino, which is powered by a 5V battery bank.

Bills of Materials:

  • Arduino Uno
    • A cheap alternative was used in that project
  • Arduino proto-board shield
    • Easier to build a more permanent project, rather than attaching the wires directly to the UNO board
  • 100K resistor
    • Only need one in the entire circuit, it helps to smoothe serial data communication between the Arduino and the MP3 player
  • DFMini MP3 player
    • Fully programmable MP3 player. It uses a software library or hexadecimal code for control
  • Two ultrasonic sensor modules (HC-SR04)
    • An inexpensive module for prototyping
  • A selection of flexible and jump wires
    • For building and prototyping
  • A breadboard/ proto-board
    • For prototyping and testing the circuit
  • A top hat
    • Keeps the head warm, also houses the project and it gives style to the wearer

The circuitry:

The project was prototyped separately for testing before assembly

Building the proto -board

Installing the MP3 player

Installing the ultrasonic sensor

Recording the mAssage

The final Article